This year, I’ve been reading(/listening to) books from two Audies categories: Non-Fiction and Short Stories/Collections.
This book was absolutely fascinating.
Seriously! Not only did it talk about the history of breasts – like how we probably ended up with them in the first place, and how attitudes towards breastfeeding have changed over the years – it also included quite a lot of information about how our breasts function throughout our lives. There was a wealth of information about puberty, breastfeeding, sexual attraction, and health concerns (including breast cancer) that I’d never known before. And it was all presented in a simple, matter-of-fact, friendly manner. It felt a lot like something Mary Roach would’ve written, but with a little more seriousness and a little bit less tongue-in-cheek humour.
I kind of expected the book to be a personal reflection of Elton John’s experiences during the AIDS crisis (particularly in the beginning, since he was probably at his peak of popularity then). It is this, in part, but not completely. A large focus in the book is on the AIDS policies of governments, especially the United States, and on the politics surrounding the epidemic.
The Handmaid’s Tale blew my freaking socks off back then, and it did it again now.
The basic premise of the story seems a bit far-fetched … and yet it isn’t, especially as years go on and the conservative Christian right gets stronger and more militant in the United States.
What really helped me out here was that Welcome to Bordertown eased the reader into the world between the US and the Realm. It gave enough background information for the reader to understand the basics and to simply assimilate into the story world, but not so much background as to be overwhelming. It felt like I had about as much as any human going to Bordertown might have, and not much more, which helped with trying to put myself in to the shoes of the characters.